Grief is our natural response to losing someone or something very important to us. You may feel sad, angry, depressed, heartbroken, or have other grief-related feelings.
Grieving is the process of emotional and life adjustment you go through after a loss.
Beyond losing a loved one or even a cherished pet, grief can come from job loss, a child heading out on their own, or moving from your home; grieving is a process that is completely unique to you.
You will hear the term “new normal” as you work through the grieving process. The time it takes you to move through your own grieving process and find your new normal may take weeks, months, or even years, but you need to know, above all, there is no wrong way to grieve. How you cope with your grief is what can make all the difference.
Grief In Words
As you grieve, you may experience your grief physically, emotionally, socially, or spiritually. Words and expressions that commonly describe grief may include:
- Shock (like a bomb just exploded)
- Numbness (you can’t feel anything)
- Disbelief (did it really happen?)
- Anger (not only about the loss but also in hearing things like “if there’s anything I can do”)
- Fear or anxiousness of the unknown
- Guilt (why didn’t I do more?)
- Relieved (they are not suffering anymore)
- Joy (feeling blessed to have had the time you had together)
You may feel one, some, or all of these feelings (sometimes within a few minutes!), as you begin your journey into grief, you may find yourself:
- Pulling away from those close to you
- Indulging in excess with food, alcohol, or other substances to “numb the pain”
- Questioning your views on life or your faith
- Feeling jealous of others who haven’t ever experienced loss
- Unable to sleep well
- Screaming at the person who offered one-too-many pieces of unsolicited advice
You may not be clear about your feelings, but you’re feeling something. The best way to help manage those feelings is to talk about them with someone close to you, a trained therapist, or a group of others also experiencing grief. Talking it out can be very liberating and empowering.